Cody Cousino / Photo editor
A four-team playoff system seems inevitable for college football, but Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer said he’s not in favor of abandoning the bowl system.
“I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this,” Meyer said. “I think the ideal setup is what’s happened in the last decade of football. I think we’ve had a true national champion.”
Meyer said he “can’t fathom” the workload the coaches would face with such a quick turnaround between a semifinal and championship game, and the staff would have to sleep in the office to adequately prepare.
“If I’m in the top four like you said, then I’m going to kill my coaches now,” Meyer said. “Forget recruiting. We’re going to put that on the side. We’re going to prepare in case we have to play any one of those three teams and that will be exhausting.”
Meyer won two national championships at Florida under the current BCS system, which uses a combination of human and computer polls to pit the two highest-rated teams at the end of the season in a championship game.
Critics of the current system say identifying the top-two teams at the end of the year isn’t always clear and that schools from smaller conferences are systematically excluded from the start.
In an April meeting, 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame agreed that college football should move to a four-team playoff with two semifinals games followed by a championship.
Conference and university representatives are in the process of figuring out how they want the playoff system to look before it’s put into effect.
When Meyer coached at the University of Utah in 2004, his team went undefeated in the regular season, but was not selected as one of the two teams to play in the national championship.
“I was hoping for a playoff at that point because that’s the only access we could have,” Meyer said of his time at Utah. “I don’t know. I can understand why it’s happening, but I was not one of the screamers and yellers saying it was broken before.”
Despite Meyer’s objections, the changes are in motion. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and other conference administrators met Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the situation and some details that have yet to be agreed upon.
Big Ten representatives said Tuesday that they favor using bowl games and not home sites as the locations for the playoff games. Incorporating bowls into the playoff system would preserve the Rose Bowl, something the Big Ten has said is extremely important to the conference and its fans.
“It would be a competitive advantage to have semifinal games at home fields,” said Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne, according to ESPN. “But the bowls have been good to us. If you took them out of the playoff, it would pretty much destroy the bowl system.”
Meyer said using home fields as location sites wouldn’t be fair to teams from warmer climates.
“I’m not sure on a nice brisk December day here in Columbus you can have a southern team come up here and play,” Meyer said. “I know the southern teams I coached that would be a problem.”
Conference commissioners will meet in late June to further discuss the plan and expect to have a draft ready to present to university presidents by July 4.
Meyer might not agree with whatever change will come about, but that doesn’t mean he wants to be excluded.
“I just hope we’re one of the teams that has to deal with it at some point,” he said.